The Architectural Heritage of Sri Lanka brings together measured drawings from the Anjalendran Studio, text by David Robson, and photographs by Dominic Sansoni. The book takes a comprehensive look at the architectural styles and different typologies found in the country at different times in history and takes the reader through the journey of architecture in the country, from Buddhist temples to colonial churches to modernist buildings and gardens.
An important aspect of Sri Lankan architecture is the landscape and how the building interacts with it. The book covers the different landscapes in great detail—from ancient times to the Bawa and Senanayake estates.
The drawings in the book are a culmination of 30 years of work carried out by Anjalendran Studio. Meticulously hand-drawn and striking to look at, these drawings are intrinsic to architectural practice in Sri Lanka; particularly during the modernist period.
Brought to the fore by the late artist Laki Senanayake and the drawings he created for Bawa’a studio. He detailed the landscape of the Lunuganga estate.
Over the years many architects have adopted this language in their drawings, even now, when the medium has become digital.
Anjalendran, who once worked under Bawa, and his pupils have created drawings with the same language and attention to detail when documenting the different times and styles of the built forms.
Dominic Sansoni is one of the most respected photographers in Sri Lanka and has helped create an array of projects and books. His knowledge and anecdotes stem not just from the buildings he photographs, but also from the people he is surrounded by. His documentation of Sri Lanka throughout his life is aided by this knowledge. His other works include a collaboration with Robson, chronicling the gardens created by the Bawa brothers.
David Robson is a professor of architecture and writer who taught at the University of Brighton and has written many books and articles on the architectural heritage, modernist architects, and buildings of Sri Lanka. Apart from the above-mentioned books on Anjalendran and Bawa, he has given multiple lectures and talks on the Bawa brothers, as well as a talk at AA on Minette de Silva. Having known the architects of and lived through the construction of various modernist built forms, his knowledge of these forms ranges beyond literature and into the past.
The three aspects of the book—drawing, photograph, and text—are linked not just by the buildings they depict, but also by the links between those that created them. The origins of the book can be traced to Barbara Sansoni, artist and founder of Barefoot, Sri Lanka. She began recording buildings in the country in the 1960s. She published the book ‘Architecture of an Island’ in 1998 with Anjalendran, a friend, and Dominic, her son.
Robson was Anjalendran’s tutor in the ’70s and has worked with him in later years. He also wrote the book ‘Anjalendran: Architect of Sri Lanka’ which chronicles the architect’s work up till 2009. Dominic and Anjalendran continued the work started by Barbara, culminating in this book: a comprehensive and detailed documentation of Sri Lankan architecture.
The book chronicles Sri Lankan architecture over a large period, and reading the book gives great insight into the historical timeline and cultural change. The book starts with some insight into the history of the country before diving into its buildings and landscapes.
Sri Lanka and its architecture has been greatly influenced by the onset of Buddhism and later, by colonialism. Sri Lankan modernists created built forms that took from the technology and ideas of the West but adapted to the climate and cultural context of their surroundings. The book starts with ancient buildings and
The contents of the book span thirty years of drawing at Anjalendran studio and lifetimes of knowledge from the authors living in, visiting, and studying about the places documented. It is an exceptional read for architects, designers, and others to give insight into the depth of the small island nation.
Highlights from the book include recreations of Buddhist murals, simple plans and an elevation of an Amablama or a rest stop, drawings of Brief Garden and Diababula, Jami ul Alfgar mosque, modernist townhouses, and the stunning map of a monastery of the contents page to hook you in!
S.C. (2020, February 27). Architectural Heritage of Sri Lanka | Book. Behance. https://www.behance.net/gallery/92911345/Architectural-Heritage-of-Sri-Lanka-Book/